Project Runway 5 - Episode 11 Preview

>> Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Well, all of our early morning mental gymnastics last week didn't amount to much. Jerell wasn't auf--he won--and Korto (our pick for first) only got third place. Congratulations to Jerell on a well-earned second victory in a row! We're fans. But seriously, what is that thing on your head?

Suede, meanwhile, turned in another disappointing performance (now officially a trend) and Leanne stumbled a bit, while cantankerous Kenley got away with a pink belt that made her model look like she was baring her midriff. (We're not the only ones who thought that, are we? Maybe it's just our old television...)

Joe Faris--bringing sexy pocket square back.

And of course that meant it was Joe's turn to go home. And while Suede's outfit was what some might call a "hot mess," Joe's was truly cringe-worthy and cliche. We had to laugh when Kors brought up the much maligned pocket square--but of course Kenley laughed too, in Joe's presence, further destroying any affinity we might have had left for her. As with Terri, we wonder what happened to Kenley--or if she was just the beneficiary of favorable editing at the beginning that lower numbers cannot now hide. In any event, we can safely say we're not fans.

Kenley finally finds someone who appreciates her company.

Regardless, Kenley remains one of the best designers on the show--which is as good a lead in as any to this week's updated Big Board of Shame:

Korto: 18 points (One 1st, two 2nds, three 3rds, one "top four," one 3rd worst, two safes)
Kenley: 17 points (One 1st, three 2nds, one 3rd, one 3rd worst, four safes)
Jerell: 13 points (Two 1sts, one 2nd, one 3rd, two 3rd worsts, four safes)
Leanne: 12 points (Two 1sts, one 2nd, one "top four," one 3rd worst, one 2nd worst, four safes)
Suede: 2 points (One 1st, two 2nd worsts, one 3rd worst, six safes)
Terri: 8 points (One 2nd, two 3rds, five safes, one auf)
Joe: 6 points (One 1st, one 3rd, one "top four," one 2nd worst, five safes, one auf)
Kelli: 3 points (One 1st, three safes, one auf)
Keith: -2 points (One 1st, one 2nd worst, one 3rd worst, three safes, one auf)
Emily: -2 points (Two safes, one auf)
Wes: -3 points (One safe, one auf)
Stella: -4 points (One 3rd, two 2nd worsts, four safes, one auf)
Daniel: -4 points (One 2nd, one 2nd worst, one 3rd worst, two safes, one auf)
Jerry: -4 points (One auf)
Jennifer: -5 points (One 2nd worst, two safes, one auf)
Blayne: -6 points (One 2nd worst, two 3rd worsts, five safes, one auf)

Scoring: Win (4 pts), 2nd place (3 pts), 3rd place (2 pts), Safe (1 pt), 3rd worst (-2 pts), 2nd worst (-3 pts), Aufed (-4 pts)

Notes of interest:

- Korto maintains a narrow lead despite her third place finish.

- Kenley leapfrogs Leanne back into second place.

- Leanne drops from second to fourth as Jerell surges past on the strength of two straight wins.

- Suede is approaching Blayne territory, and is by far the worst designer still standing. He's also, points-wise, worse than three designers already cooling their heels back at the Atlas hotel--including the recently departed Joe.

- Bryant Park--so clearly in the designers' sights at this point in the competition--appears to be something of a toss up between the top four designers, with Korto and Kenley most likely to go based solely on talent.

So, what do the previews tell us, and how do they compare with what the Big Board of Shame is saying? Keep reading, true-believers...

SPOILER ALERT: We have no prior knowledge of who's in and who's out each week. We do, however, watch the preview videos Bravo provides, from which we try to glean clues of what's to come. Then we make guesses. (Often, of late, bad ones.) If you don't like such things, please close your browser and enjoy a pleasing piece of music. May we recommend something by LL Cool J?

Nina said knock you out.

This week's episode is entitled "Rock 'N Runway" (seriously), and features hip-hop artist LL Cool J as a guest judge. LL (or James Todd Smith, as his mother named him) isn't entirely unfamiliar with the fashion industry, having worked behind the scenes on hip-hop sportswear line TROOP, and launching FUBU in the mid-90s. Most recently, LL Cool J launched the clothing line Todd Smith, which focuses on "high-end urban apparel." Also, Biz Markie was already busy.

Mr. James will judge the efforts of the five remaining designers as, according to the Bravo web site, they "tune in to their musical side for a musical genre challenge."

Be afraid, boys and girls. Be very afraid.

The first surprise in the previews holds the answer, we presume, to what we will henceforth refer to as "Model Madness." This would be the controversy sparked by last week's observation over at Blogging Project Runway that some of the current designers have different models in their runway shows at Bryant Park. How this might reveal which designers were decoys is of course what we're most interested in here at Gratz Industries, and we spent much time and energy on the problem last week.

We ignored, of course, the idea that the producers might be the ones to stir the otherwise placid waters of this season's model selections, preferring instead to pin the blame on budding bad girl Kenley. That scenario meant Kenley had to win something first, but this week the preview videos show us Heidi bringing out the eight remaining models (Joe's, Blayne's, and Terri's models are all still hanging around) and telling the designers, "Before we tell you about your next challenge, we're going to let you re-pick your models."



This is where the Model Madness originates, particularly because the next piece we hear is Suede complaining that Leanne took his model! "I'm going to have to kill Leanne," he says. "It's like the kid in the candy store who wants what everyone else has. Childish!" Not what everyone else has, Suede--just what you have. So after we gave Kenley grief for being an instigator (sorry!), it appears that Leanne is the one who trades in her model Karalyn of her own volition.


Here's how things must work out, based on what we know of the runway models at Bryant Park, and assuming there's no further Model Madness next week:

- Jerell picks first, and chooses his own usual model Nicole.
- Korto gets the chance to keep Katarina, and does so.
- Kenley takes the opportunity to swap out her previous model Germaine for Joe's previous model Topacio.
- Leanne chooses to steal Suede's model Tia instead of keeping Karalyn.
- Suede chooses from the three remaining models, and it really doesn't matter which one, since he's never going to get to dress her.

But we're getting ahead of ourselves. The only thing that matters in all this is that Leanne picks ahead of Suede so that she can steal his model. The rest of the "madness" isn't really all that madcap.

Someone has stolen Suede's candy.

So why won't Suede put clothes on whichever model he picks? Because we're pretty sure that right after the designers go through the drama of choosing new models, they go back to the workroom where Tim tells them they won't be needing them this challenge. Instead, they'll be restyling each other, ala the fellow-contestant makeover challenge in Season Two that sent our beloved Nick Verreos home instead of Santino. (A sting from which we still smart.) But of course, there will be the added hilarity of seeing them try to remake their colleagues in hip-hop attire.

Oh, the editors try their best to hide the truth from us, but we will not be misled! (This time, we mean. Just ignore all those previous misleadings.) Yes, we're shown a few seconds of runway judging where three of the designers--Suede, Leanne, and Kenley--are shown wearing outfits they brought with them, not outfits that were designed for them, but we call B.S.!

There is far better evidence that the designers are also the models in the workroom shots. Kenley comes out from behind one of the changing screens holding her microphone and battery case--the kind that's usually lumpily hidden beneath the designers' shirts. She also says, "I think Jerell might think I have a better body than he knows," which is an extraordinarily odd comment when taken out of context. In what we hope is professional interest, Korto asks Suede, "Have you ever worn tight jeans before?" And Jerell adds, "Kenley's ass is ridiculous!" which may either refer to the back of some dress Kenley is making, or perhaps to Kenley's own back end. Jerell also offers the tantalizing idea that, "the thought has crossed my mind to sabotage Suede."


If we're right, that means there will be two contestants making clothes for men--always a difficult challenge for designers more practiced in womenswear. Which two have to make pants? Let's go to the video. From what we can tell, the pairings look like this:

- Jerell is designing for Kenley.
- Korto is designing for Suede.
- Suede is designing for Jerell.
- Kenley is designing for Leanne.
- Leanne is designing for Korto.

It looks like Korto and Suede draw the short straws. But Korto, we know, can make a pair of pants. Suede? Well, lest we forget, he did his darnedest to talk his co-ed photographer model out of wearing pants last episode because "Suede doesn't do pants."


Yeah. Big Board of Shame + pants x hip-hop = Suede + auf. We're just going to go ahead and call that one right now.

The winner is a little tougher to call. We haven't got much evidence, other than a very fancy top Jerell is concocting with sparkly faux jewels. It looks funky, but, well we don't know if it's hip-hop. In fact, we're not sure we would know what hip-hop was if it hip-hopped up and bit us in our noses.

The other designers seem to think that Leanne or Kenley (we can't tell which) is crashing and burning, but they don't feel compelled at this stage to tell her what she's doing isn't hip-hop. Jerell wants to sabotage Suede. Kenley asks, "what does Tim know anyway?" and gets a lashing from Nina on the runway.


Yeah, can you make her hair like this big?

Without further proof then, we'll say that Jerell and Korto get high marks, and that Leanne, Kenley, and Suede get low marks. Dare we call Jerell a winner three times in a row? Particularly if we hold with common wisdom that he will be aufed in the last episode before the finale? Nah. We're betting Jerell doesn't bowl a turkey on this one, and that Korto wins the hip-hop challenge.

Leanne, meanwhile, will be sent off after Jerell (as third best or third worst--essentially the same in a five person contest), and Kenley and Suede will sweat it out, when really we all know Suede will be sent home.

That's how we see it playing out. Let's hope we do better this week!

If you're playing Fafarazzi, we recommend Jerell, Korto, and Leanne. Kenley is going to lose points for being told her work isn't working, and Suede, well, we're pretty sure his time is up. Pretty slim pickins this week...

Good luck to all the designers and fans. We'll see you on the runway!


Anonymous,  September 24, 2008 at 10:49 AM  

Interesting that you think Leanne steals Suede's model. From the previews I thought it was clear that Suede was the one who instigated the switch. He also would seem to have the most motivation to make a change - as he said in the preview, he's been in the bottom 3 the last 3 times out and he's got to do something to step it up. He seems rather desperate and is probably willing to do anything that might give him an edge, including taking the best model left. What motivation would Leanne have to change? She's won twice with Karalynn. But who knows. If Leanne doesn't instigate the switch it seems sad that Karalynn doesn't get to stay with her at this late stage. Based on the final collections I think it's clear that either Korto or Leanne will be the winner (I actually think Leanne's is the best by far, as apparently did most of the audience) and it's unfortunate that the model won't get the shot at the Elle spread.

I'm not a regular here but from what I've seen you do seem to push the notion that Kenley is one of the best designers in the group. Faint praise indeed since this was a very weak group, IMO, but I think Kenley's deficiencies have become apparent as the season has progressed. I don't think she's even in the same league as Korto or Leanne, as the final collections proved, nor do I think she's as talented as Jerrell. I think some of those who got aufed are probably better as well - I'm thinking of Kelli, Terri and maybe Daniel.

Alan September 24, 2008 at 4:16 PM  

I too don't understand why Leanne would swap models out, but I can't see any other way this works out. I've been very wrong before, so we'll see.

As to us pushing Kenley as one of the best designers left--please understand, that's by default. As you say, this is faint praise, as those who are left seem to be rather weak "finalists," at least compared to years past.

We too like Leanne's and Korto's work better--and we like Jerell and his work, although he's a bit hit and miss sometimes. Kenley is at least consistent, when she can force her 40s/50s aesthetic into the challenge.

We'll also grant that Terri's work intrigued us far more than Kenley's, but we can't go so far as to say Daniel or Kelli were better. We didn't see as much of their work, but frankly what we did see of theirs didn't wow us.

Just using the statistics we have accumulated on the "Big Board of Shame," Kenley ranks up there with teh better designers who are left. Again, that's not saying a whole lot...

Nanis,  September 24, 2008 at 6:22 PM  

I soooo want Kenley gone.

Good designer or not, she is just so annoying. She reminds me of the girl in high school who is oh-so-cute, but not very bright.

Anne,  September 24, 2008 at 6:37 PM  

I want to see someone punch Kenley in the face.

Wow. That seems harsh, but it's absolutely true.


Diane September 25, 2008 at 9:21 AM  

Oh my goodness, you are brilliant! This post was perfect. And you were right about the model switch.

I can't wait to see your next prediction. I'm pretty sure Kenleigh's days are numbered, but you seem to think otherwise. I think they are going to force them to design out of their style again - and then auf her. :)

Laura K September 25, 2008 at 2:51 PM  

Congratulations on your perfect picks!

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